Fish kill causes stench in Dagupan rivers

DAGUPAN City residents living by tributaries inside barangay islands woke up on April 25 smelling the stench that permeated the air emanating from the river as a result of the fish kill that hit the city and caused tons of bangus to die, float and rot

City Agriculturist Emma Molina, nonetheless, confirmed that the amount of fish that died from the fish kill constitutes only a fraction of fish in captivity in fish pens.

However, most of the milkfish that died were already in their marketable sizes whom producers were reserving to sell to the city to be grilled for the Bangus Festival that was earlier canceled by Mayor Brian Lim on account of the onslaught of COVID-19.

The new fish kill prompted the growers to harvest earlier and resulted in sudden drop in market price from P130 to P140 per kilo during normal times to as low as P40 to P50 per kilo.

But the affected fish growers lament that even with the big drop in price, there were few buyers because of the community quarantine in the city.

The average daily temperature in Dagupan that ranges from 45 to 50 degrees centigrade led to a thermal shock after a drizzle hit the city on April 25.

Director Westly Rosario, chief of the National Integrated Fisheries Technology and Development Center (NIFTDC) said the fish kill was not only caused by sudden change of temperature but by overstocking of fish pens by growers.

He said overstocking in many fish pens gave rise to the depletion of dissolved oxygen in the water.

The small fishermen have been sidelined again by illegal fish pens that have sprouted in the city’s rivers since the new Lim administration took over. (Leonardo Micua)

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